First off, congrats to everyone for being shortlisted.
Secondly, here are the figures using my my semi-arbitrary criteria, after which I’ll put some more expanded thoughts.
The Dread Wyrm by Miles Cameron (Gollancz) – 2k ratings (not looking good for me so far, book 1 has 7k but it’d be a stretch to make that claim)
Son of the Black Sword by Larry Correia (Baen) – also 2k, though Correia + awards is a complicated matter I believe.
Gotrek & Felix: Slayer by David Guymer (Black Library) – 92 ratings. Seriously?! Oh come on. I know it’s a Warhammer novel and that may distort things but come on, gimme a break here!
Ruin by John Gwynne (Pan Macmillan) 1.7k – A man who’s done well at the Gemmells and seems to be selling loads, but still far fewer ratings than others on the list
The Liar’s Key by Mark Lawrence (Harper/Voyager) 5k – perhaps I should have expected this would do well given how committed his fans are, but still it was book 2 in a new series with lots of big names on the list.
So, first and foremost, apologies to the Gemmell committee. Clear (and perhaps inevitably) it’s a more nuanced matter as to who’s getting the votes in these awards that I’d characterised.
As for further thoughts about the list. Cameron actually has sold better than I’d realised. They’re not vast numbers on Goodreads or Amazon but very good all the same. He’s got a very successful career in historical fiction I know, but I’m not sure that could explain it by itself. Correia’s fanbase is large and motivated on the awards front so… yeah, there’s that. Interestingly he’s the only one to not have a UK publisher on this UK-based award. Guymer is a Warhammer writer and so far as I’m aware they follow different sales paths – checking Goodreads and Amazon you’d think it’s sold almost nothing, let alone enough to get ahead of folk like Abercrombie on a popular vote.
As for Gwynne and Lawrence, they’re the least surprising ones on the list even if I didn’t think they’d be on it.
And lastly – I’ve got no bloody idea who’s going to win out of that lot! If I had to put money on it I’d go for Lawrence, but clearly there’s a lot going on in this vote so I’ll be keen to see the numbers if they get released. I’m reminded that I originally said it’d be a big old sausage fest, and there I did seem to get it right, but there’s probably a lot to be unpicked by others about the nature of various fanbases.